Class Act – David Dorfman Dance Company Coming Soon

By Jen Dayton

Looking for something creative, captivating and contemporary to set your eyes on? The opportunity to see the David Dorfman Dance Company in action is coming to the campus at Brockport. In the upcoming spring semester, David Dorfman Dance will be in residency at the college at Brockport. This is very exciting news for the Department of Dance because Assistant Professor Karl Rogers is a company member himself.

David Dorfman Dance has been around since 1985 and is one of the top modern dance companies. The company has been honored with eight New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards and has performed extensively in New York City and throughout North and South America, Great Britain, and Europe. David Dorfman Dance offers contemporary movement through space in its own unique and brilliant style and the college at Brockport is already buzzing with excitement to have the opportunity to work with David Dorfman and his company members.

This past summer, dance major Morgan Hasson and I took part in the David Dorfman Summer Intensive at Connecticut College. The experience we had with the company and other dancers that attended was unbelievable. Even though the intensive was only one week long, we received more information and experienced dance at a level beyond our imaginations. During the week, we took text, improvisation, repertoire, technique, and partnering classes with David, Lisa Race (David’s wife and former company member), and current company members, Karl Rogers, Whitney Tucker, Kendra Portier, and Raja Kelly. Morgan and I were truly amazed and inspired in each class we attended. On any particular day, whoever was teaching class really helped us understand the concept of what was being taught and how it related to the company’s work. Some of the most influential ideas I took away from the intensive were how to move efficiently, trust yourself, and the impact contact improvisation can have on dance.

At the tail end of the intensive, a global underscore took place, an annual event during which dancers around the world simultaneously unite in dance. Now for those of you who do not know what the underscore is Nancy Stark Smith explains the underscore in her book “Caught Falling.” Nancy Stark Smith states, “… It is a score that guides dancers through a series of ‘changing states,’ from solo deepening/releasing to sensitizing to gravity and support; through group circulation and interaction, Contact Improvisation engagements, opening out to full group improvisation with compositional awareness, and back to rest and reflection. The Underscore can be seen as a vehicle for incorporating Contact Improvisation into a broader arena of improvisational practice…”

For me, being part of the global underscore was awe inspiring. It brought the energy of dancers together from all over the world, including the David Dorfman Summer Intensive participants. Together, our spirits were combined and a magical feeling was created in the room at Connecticut College. Everyone’s passion for dance was pulsing in unison, creating rhythmic and energetic uniqueness. As everyone improvised with dancers they did not necessarily know, we came together through familiarity with the various movements being created in space. It was definitely a sight to see, something beautiful in the making.

Needless to say, everyone at the college at Brockport should mark their calendars for the David Dorfman Company residency. The company as a whole is open minded and invites everyone to take part in what they do, as they try to get to know each dancer and help him or her grow and learn. Working with the company was a life changing experience!

Editor’s Note: David Dorfman Dance will be on campus the week of February 25th, 2013. This residency is sponsored by the Student Dance Organization (SDO). Stay tuned for details about a performance you won’t want to miss featuring David Dorfman Dance to take place in Strasser Studio!

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Hip Hop Moves For Everyone

By Marielys Burgos-Meléndez

The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) Brockport Student Chapter sponsored the second Hip Hop Happening event at Hartwell Hall on Saturday, November 10th. Dancers and non dancers of all ages from the Rochester area and beyond came together to participate in diverse workshops offered throughout the day. African Dance, Hip Hop, and Voguing were part of the classes taught by Brockport’s students. Also a Master Class on Break Dancing was offered by visiting artist, Eugene “Tin Man” Cleveland, a local hip hop dancer and scholarship student of the Garth Fagan Dance School (GFDS) in Rochester.

This unique event definitely created networks among the student body of The College at Brockport, students from other universities, local artists, dance studio teachers, and the community in general.

The excitement and fun continued during a free performance presented at the Hartwell Theater. The Step Team, the Hip Hop Club of Brockport as well as the Hip Hop Club from the University of Rochester presented original works. Eugene “Tin Man” performed a hip hop improvisation duet with Brockport undergraduate Shawn Powell. The audience members, including students, performers and the college’s Open House visitors (parents and prospective students who couldn’t resist this amazing event), enthusiastically cheered the performances.

NDEO’s goal is to continue hosting this great educational initiative to solidify relations with the community and create a space for everyone interested in learning some hip hop moves.

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Student Review of Dance/Hartwell

By Amanda Ott

On Saturday November 3rd I attended the matinee performance DANCE/Hartwell, a concert performed by students in the College at Brockport Department of Dance. I had previously attended a concert in the Strasser studio, and it was very interesting to observe the differences between a studio and theater performance. I enjoyed the performances very much.

The first piece of the show, entitled Beat It, was a piece by Janet Schroeder. It was a rhythm dance, and very well done. It must have taken a great deal of work to get it to sound so musical. My favorite part was when the dancers used vocals. It created an interesting effect with their other rhythmic movements such as clapping and stomping. The second piece was a solo called In the Quick. I thought that it was danced strongly and that it was overall well done. I also liked the costume; I thought it added to the strength of the performance to see the physical strength of the dancer.

Ensconce was magnificent. It had so many moments that inspired me to amazement. I wish I had retained the words to describe it, but what is left impressed on my memory is just the feeling that I was watching something quite extraordinary. I also thought the projection of shapes in the background was aesthetically pleasing. This was one of my favorite dances.

The next dance, entitled Rapunzel’s Shoes, was very enjoyable. I liked when the dancer walked forward with her helmeted head on the floor. It was a unique movement choice. I also felt that the rhythm made by the items being thrown into the bucket matched wonderfully with the movement. When the shoes were dropped into the bucket, it was both a satisfying and amusing moment. I do not know what it meant or why, but I know that I liked it. I do not always hope for a message in a dance; sometimes I just want to see movement in new or strange ways.

The Parable of Eden had a great energy to it! Because of the lyrics, it made me think of being in New York City, but I think the movement had this energy even without the lyrics. I really liked how the dancers came down in front of the stage at the end of the dance. I liked how one dancer was left behind at the end; she was too tired to make it back onstage, illustrating how New York City has a way of wearing people out. Through the Keyhole was a beautiful dance. There was a lot of movement that gestured toward the high space: dancers looked up, they arched their backs, and they leapt in the air. This brought the focus skyward, which I liked.

Infinite Assemblage was also one of my favorite dances of anything I have seen. It was cosmic and beautiful. The music was science-fiction like but also very pretty. The dancers had great technique, form, and presence. This was the type of dance that makes you feel good and think that the universe is a mysterious and wonderful place. I want to see it again!

I really enjoyed Dance/HARTWELL. It is such a pleasure to see the differences in choreography, costuming, lighting, music, and expression from piece to piece. I liked that there was no intermission, and I thought the show was the perfect length to keep me engaged. The theater experience was somewhat different than the Strasser studio experience. It felt more like a staged show, where Strasser felt more like the audience and the dancers were occupying the same space. Overall, DANCE/Hartwell was a great show. I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to see these pieces and enjoy their nuances.

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Reflections on a Summer Performance

By Erin Lowden

On August 22, 2012 Assistant Professor of dance Mariah Maloney embarked on an amazing journey to the historical Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival with 15 current and former Brockport dance students. Upon arrival on Wednesday evening the dancers perused the grounds of The Pillow, checked out the Inside/Out stage that they would be performing on the next day and watched the Joffrey Ballet company take class before their opening night performance in the Ted Shawn Theatre. The dancers were also given the opportunity to see the Doug Elkins Company perform and chat with Doug Elkins himself post show.

The following day Mariah and her dancers started the day with a self guided warm up in a studio resembling a log cabin. After warming up, the dancers were able to get on the Inside/Out stage and walk through the works that they would be performing. The day was spent in the beautiful outdoor space overlooking the Massachusetts Berkshires.

After a day of staging in the sun, Mariah Maloney Dance performed as the sun began to set on the outdoor space at 6:15pm. The performance opened with a solo performed by Mariah Maloney to classical Irish music. This was followed by Vensters, a piece danced by 14 women. Vensters was immediately followed by a duet danced by Mariah and MFA graduate Hannah Seidel and another solo, performed by Seidel. The performance closed with Rock, danced by 6 women to rock music. After the show there was a 10-minute discussion where the audience was able to ask questions and give their opinions on the works.

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Upcoming: Dance/Strasser and Dance/Hartwell to feature MFA Thesis Works

Four of the seven 2013 Master of Fine Arts candidates will be presenting choreography as the creative component of their final thesis projects. Dance/Strasser, October 18-20, will showcase Mapping by Nicole Kaplan. In Kaplan’s own words, Mapping is a glimpse inside the human mind, or rather, a confrontation of the ego. Eight women form a community of strength through combative yet supportive moving-forms through space, where complex rhythmic structures are brought to life through weight sensing and unpredictable partnering sequences.

With performances November 1-3, Dance/Hartwell is set to feature thesis work by Falon Baltzell and Juliana Utz, with an additional thesis excerpt by Janet Schroeder. Ensconce, choreographed by Falon Baltzell, contributes to the discourse of choreographic possibilities for the concert stage through movement investigations of negative space and confined spatial design. According to Baltzell, the dancers’ explorations of negative space leave the mental image of a picture, in which it dissipates while another one emerges. Throughout the piece, the dancers introduce specific movement details that come and go, yet leave an impression. Baltzell believes with spatial limitation comes discovery of movement possibilities; a playground of sorts where rules don’t apply. On the other end of the concert dance spectrum, Janet Schroeder presented the 45-minute concert Tap and… at the Rochester Fringe Festival in September, which featured a variety of percussive dances. The U.S. premiere of “Beat it” was in that concert, and it will also be shown in DANCE/Hartwell. “Beat it” was originally created for La Compañía de Danza Contemporánea, a professional company in Puebla, Mexico, where Schroeder served as guest artist in July 2012.

Stay tuned for more thesis works to come this spring by MFA candidates Anna Corvera, Amanda McCullum, and Elizabeth Osborn.

Additional Information:
Dance/Strasser October 18-20, 7:30pm
Dance/Hartwell November 1-3, 7:30pm and November 3, 2pm
Tickets are $15 general admission; $10 faculty, staff and alumni; $8 students.
Available now at Tower Fine Arts Box Office and at Hartwell Theater Box Office one hour before show time.

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An Evening with Randee Paufve and …Mary Todd Lincoln???

By Oluyinka Akinjiola

This summer, 2,697 miles away from Hartwell hall, I found myself feeling a little bit closer to the Brockport community in an unforeseen sequence of events. Almost three months preceding, I inquired to Conduit Dance, located in Portland, Oregon, about joining the non-profit organization as a summer intern. Despite the director, Tere Mathern, and I being complete strangers, she openly invited me to join Conduit’s team.
Soon after flying across the country, my tasks began with the staff and volunteers in preparing for the Just 17 Annual benefit on June 16th, 2012. The evening of the benefit revealed the gravity of Conduit dance to the community of Portland, and its importance as a venue for contemporary and modern dance. To commend the hard work of the founders of Conduit, a woman I had never met or heard of addressed the audience. Her name was Randee Paufve, who has built a decade-long relationship with the studio, and continues to bring work to Portland while incorporating local dancers into the work she presents. Randee Paufve Dance was to premier Randee’s most recent work, “So I Married Abraham Lincoln…” the following weekend.

Following the Annual Benefit, my tasks continued with the volunteer coordination of ushers for the showing of Randee’s work and house managing the theater on closing night. Without knowing much of the premise for the work (other than the title) I watched the piece with an open mind on opening night. I was awe stricken as the Paufve Company and chorus of Portland dancers executed the complexities of Mary Todd Lincoln’s life of agony, insanity, joy, pain and survival after the assassination of her husband. The transitions throughout the hour long show were seamless as the audience was taken through Mary Todd’s mental journey. The line between audience and participant merged as the crowd joined the performers in a séance on the floor in an effort to make contact with the departed Abraham. The crowd was brought to tears with the conclusion of an a capella gospel song, seeming to bring peace to the end of Mary Todd’s life.

After the show, I asked Randee about her inspiration for the work. She replied that after seeing Bill T. Jones’ work based on Abraham Lincoln, she thought, “what about Mary Todd?” And thus began her choreographic research. After the over packed house was cleared, only Randee and I remained to close the studio for the night. As we struggled to reset alarms and lock up the studio, she asked me “where are you from.” I responded, “well…I am currently getting my MFA in a small town in New York called Brockport.” Randee’s disposition towards me shifted from a rush to leave to an elated stance as she said “I got my MA at Brockport! Is Jacquie Davis still there?” Our already pleasant relationship immediately shifted to feeling like long lost family members. We embraced at the corner of 10th and Ankeny and said our goodbyes. Even though we were both almost 3,000 miles from Brockport we still had a small community that not only stretched across a distance but also generations.

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Bringing Brockport to the Rochester Fringe Festival

The first ever Rochester Fringe Festival kicks off Wednesday, September 19th. Brockport dancers, alumni, and faculty are boasting a decidedly strong presence at this historic event in the Rochester arts scene! With affordable ticket prices, including many free shows, downtown will be the place to see and be seen for the dance community.

Present Tense Dance at Kilbourn Hall, featuring work by Anne Harris-Wilcox and Eddie Murphy
On Tap: Original Music with Dance, with work by Missy Pfohl-Smith, Courtney World, and Rebecca McArthur
InFlux Dance at ROCO, directed by Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp
BIODANCE at Christ Church
Mariah Maloney Dance at the George Eastman House Terrace Gardens
RAPA’s Day of Dance showcasing work by MFA candidates Matthew Frazier-Smith, Amanda McCullum and Elizabeth Osborn and MFA graduates Kristi Faulkner and Richard Haisma
Lighter Tones featuring work by Mariko Yamada and MFA candidate Matthew Frazier-Smith
Heather Roffe Dance at GEVA Nextstage
Bill Evans Dance Company on the free stage at Gibbs Street.
RAPA’s Day of Dance featuring work by MFA candidates Nicole Kaplan, Juliana Utz, and Janet Schroeder
Bill Evans Dance Company at the Eastman School of Music
Heather Roffe Dance at GEVA Nextstage

For details regarding parking, ticketing, specific schedules and a map of participating venues, visit the festival website or pick up a festival guide. Join us as we leave Hartwell Hall for an exciting and unforgettable weekend. See you at the Fringe!

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Fall Preview, Plus: Monica Bill Barnes is Back in Brockport!

It should come as no surprise that the upcoming season will be jam-packed with your favorite dance events, plus a few extra surprises. To kick off the semester, Monica Bill Barnes is back!

New York City choreographer Monica Bill Barnes (Monica Bill Barnes & Company) returns to Brockport for her third weeklong residency with company member Anna Bass. This year, Barnes will be working with eight previously selected undergraduate and graduate students to generate and develop material for her new company piece. Progress of the residency work will be shared publicly during three “Report Sessions” throughout the week. Everyone is encouraged to attend all three of them. On Friday, culminating the residency, master classes will be taught by Barnes and Bass to Dance majors and minors.

Barnes and work group students will share the progress and process of the residency. Report Sessions, composed of showing of the material and Barnes’ talk, will be different each evening. Students are encouraged to attend all three sessions. Each session is scheduled to last up to 1 hour.
Report Session #1: Tuesday, September 4th, Location-TBA, 5:15pm
Report Session #2: Wednesday, September 5th, Rose L. Strasser Studio, 5:15pm
Report Session #3: Thursday, September 6th, Hartwell Theatre, 7:00pm

Additionally, the first ever Rochester Fringe Festival will take place in downtown Rochester September 20-22, featuring many current Brockport Dance students and alumni. See for more information.

Concert dates for Brockport are:
DANCE/Strasser October 18-20 at 7:30pm
DANCE/Hartwell November 1 and 2 at 7:30pm, and November 3 at 2pm and 7:30pm
DANSCORE, in a new setting, November 15 and 16 at 7:30 in Strasser Studio, and November 17 at 7:30pm at Hochstein School of Music and Dance in Rochester
New Dancers Showcase November 30 and December 1 at 7:30pm
Dime-A-Dance December 5 and 6 at 7:30pm

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Emerging Dance Artists: Perspectives from a Freshman and a Senior

By Falon Baltzell

Have you ever questioned what a career in dance consists of and what the possibilities are? In an attempt to answer this inquiry, we interviewed two students in the Department of Dance. Senior BFA in Dance who most recently graduated Cum Laude, Caitlin Thurgood and freshman double major pursuing a BA in Dance and a BS in Spanish with education certification in Spanish, Chloe Leibrick. Both described life as a dancer, ranging from initial thoughts about dance as a career to their future contributions in the field.

When quested about her perspective on careers in dance, Thurgood explained how she has “intentions of further developing her kinesiology/somatic practice as a fitness trainer, a professor at a university, or a performing arts educator in a high school setting.” In ten years from now, Thurgood sees herself performing in a company on the West coast and becoming involved with guest residencies. What about having a family of her own? After a deep exhalation and a few giggles, Thurgood said a family is possible in the distant future but not anytime soon because she wants to establish a career first. When asked how she would like to contribute to the field of dance, Thurgood explained, “I want to influence people with dance so they may experience the love of it, help them find their own uniqueness, voice, and confidence.” Currently, Thurgood is participating at The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, a performing arts center that gives dancers and choreographers freedom with their creativity; a magical working environment.

Similar to Thurgood but a bit different, Leibrick’s ideals about possibilities in a dance career include becoming a member in a contemporary dance company or performing on Broadway. In a decade from now, Leibrick plans on having a “dual career as an eighth grade Spanish teacher as well as a dancer in a modern or contemporary company, or even a member of a Broadway cast. I do not know which one will come first, or if they will happen at the same time, but I can’t wait to find out!” When asked about having a family of her own, Leibrick responded by saying family is very important to her and she intends on having her own family in the far future. Leibrick’s future contribution to the field of dance consists of providing “an everlasting sense of encouragement and hope to every aspiring modern dancer after me.” Leibrick is currently a dance teacher at Syracuse Children’s Theater Summer Camps, which she considers “the best job in the world” because she is giving back to the theater program that provided her with wonderful childhood memories.

Both Leibrick and Thurgood have bright futures in dance because of their dedication, determination, and future contributions. These two ladies have provided insight about the possibilities within a dance career, which are plentiful and interdisciplinary. As one can see, the dance world offers many opportunities, which provides longevity within a career.

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National Dance Education Organization Student Chapter Celebrates a Successful Year

by Amanda McCullum

Tiny Dance Concert

NDEOBrockport has had one busy year! With a newly revised constitution we were able to organize and conduct several highly successful events in the 2011-2012 academic year. These events included a grant writing workshop in the fall and the exhilarating Hip Hop Happening, a workshop and choreography showcase that served K-12 students from the region, in the spring. We also hosted our second annual Tiny Dance Concert at A Different Path Art Gallery in Brockport. NDEO Brockport prides itself in its mission to serve not only to the students in the dance department but also to our surrounding community.

As we look forward to the 2012-2013 school year we anticipate many exciting new opportunities for our chapter. NDEO Brockport will welcome the inauguration of its own chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, as instituted by the National Dance Education Organization, which honors and recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of the members of NDEO Brockport on a national level! This organization will enable students to graduate with honors and show off their cords at graduation so that everyone has a visible reminder of the scholarship achieved at The College at Brockport and how it aids in advancing the field of dance at large.

Hip Hop Happening

The 2012-2013 officer team includes Co-chairs Matthew Frazier-Smith and Chelsea Gavazzi, Secretary Angie Muzzy, Public Relations Anna Corvera, Undergraduate Representative Natalie Swan, and Faculty Advisor Juanita Suarez. A few officer positions have been left available for entering students to have an opportunity for leadership in the department. These positions include Treasurer, Undergraduate Representative, and NHSDA administrator. Any Brockport student interested in developing your leadership skills and working with a great team please contact Juanita Suarez. Keep up to date on all our events by checking out our NDEO board in the dance hall or our new Facebook page!

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